Begin Again

Begin again…

Its not often we are faced with the opportunity to begin again. In kayaking I feel our skill sets and our ability get compared to those around us more then how we feel and compare to the yesterday versions of ourselves.

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I am a 3x World Champion, and today I worked on my flatwater cartwheel. As I fell on my face multiple times did I seem frustrated, sad, disappointed, or question if I would get better, no, not at all…

I was excited, free, and stoked when I linked several ends. With the water off and no good play, I still wanted to go kayaking.

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My husband Nick has been gone for almost 2 weeks, he’s been gone over 5 weeks in the last 2 months. While that isn’t too bad, we have a 2 month old daughter, Parker Rain, and I am on my second round of Mastitis (infected clogged milk duct= really painful boob and flu like symptoms) So my energy levels, and enthusiasm levels are a little low…

Waiting for ideal situations that may never come, can keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves and for me as a kayaker. Working everyday to be a little better then yesterday, is something I am capable of. My goals are small, but easily achievable, leaving me feel accomplished when I get home with wet hair.

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Today my goal was to work on left cartwheels in flat water in the Rockstar Medium (usually I paddle a small) to try and get 25 of them (no not in a row yet…) and to try 10 flatwater loops. While I fooled around doing a bunch of other stuff, I made sure to get my cartwheels and loops in, and left the water better then I was the last session I had.

So many people feel they plateau, or get bored of the same thing all time. The key is to keep challenging yourself, the whitewater doesn’t have to get harder, it can even get easier. Be the person who is challenging you, if you find yourself challenged by outside influences, please still go at your own pace. (or else the kayaking wont be as fun and at times you may find yourself in situations you wouldn’t have put yourself otherwise)

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Choose the ways you want to be challenged. I want perform to the best of my ability at the World Championships in 2017- so I am going to work on getting in shape and my hole moves, step by step. If your goal is to push your river running, but the new runs you want to hit aren’t running, try making your run a little different, or harder by going backwards, catching new eddies or even doing flatwater sprint or stroke drills.

When you see other paddlers doing things that you would like to be doing, use it as inspiration when you aren’t feeling motivated to get out. But always remember, we kayak for fun, it’s a break, release from any tensions you may have during your day, it’s a way to free your mind and put your energy and focus into something else. It’s an excuse for adventure. Off days happen, listen to your gut when it does happen and try to be a little bit better the next day.

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Having my daughter and watching her at her beginning, has reminded how much fun starting fresh is. While most would say that I am not when it comes to my kayaking, its how I like to look at it, and its given me the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures kayaking has to offer.

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So tomorrow, its back to those silly left cartwheels… and regardless to how I do, I know I will be better then I was today…

Emily Jackson

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